Family of Travelers, 2016
IVAN MANOJLOVIĆ presents MILICA MRVIĆ ●
AS A KEEPSAKE AND LASTING MEMORY
January 14 – February 24, 2022
Artget Gallery | 21st year
The first exhibition in 2022 belongs to the 20th jubilee season of the Artget Gallery, in which the art directors of the Gallery in the previous decade have been re-mapping the domestic scene with one selected exhibition. Ivan Manojlović, artistic director in 2018, on this occasion presents Milica Mrvić with a series of „staged“ photography As a Keepsake and Lasting Memory.
As a Keepsake and Lasting Memory
Milica Mrvić’s photographs belong to the so-called “staged photography”, or as we usually translate it, “directed photography”. Carefully designed choreography, to the last detail, and precisely carried out performative elements create a unique artificiality and a certain dose of fantasy that stimulates us to re-examine rather than read.
Photographing portraits has always been considered an act of a certain aggression, and some peoples even believe that the integrity of the portrayed is taken away. Unlike English, where this aggression is emphasized (shot, capture, taking, snatching…), in our language, portraying always acts as a construction (closer to the word bildung in German), thus we talk about “making” or “doing” a portrait. So, what is emphasized is the dimension of the process, which lasts for some
time and, first of all, implies consent, but also a possible cooperation between the persons in front of and behind the camera. Although in practice it has actually been a one-sided activity requiring from the portrayed person mostly patience, this photographic practice can also be classified as a genre of directed photography. Photographic portraits have been deeply rooted in European photographic history since its very beginnings, which is also the case in our local photographic heritage. Milica Mrvić re-examines this practice through a different process. Commissioned group portraits by Milica Mrvić are created through the process of cooperation with the portrayed. They give us a direct insight into the hopes, desires and, perhaps, the fears
of the subject. The result is a joint collaborative photographic work, where the work process is as important as the final materialization of this collaboration.
Most often we find the portrayed people in “frozen” scenes; “disturb” them in their play or a dreamt up event. Here, we are uninvited guests whose presence interrupts what appears to us a surreal scene. Due to their complexity and the way they are constructed, Milica Mrvić’s portraits are rich documents of the modern way of life and the need to move ourselves and the people around us to a different environment that stimulates us intellectually or contains symbols and values we share, confirming the fact that identities and their images can be culturally determined in a complex, profound and mysterious way. To produce a mystery in today’s hyperreal world is
perhaps one of the most important skills.
Milica Mrvić is a photographer and art director. She was born in Belgrade, where she graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts, Applied Graphics Department, Photography Atelier, in 2011. She mostly works in and enjoys the field of directed photography, designing and art directing of
various photographic narratives, with more and more frequent excursions into short stop motion animated forms. She has had several solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group exhibitions throughout Europe.
She was a member of the editorial board of the ReFoto magazine for the culture of photography and the editor of its online edition, and then the head of production of Wannabe magazine and Wannabe Media studio. She is one of the founders of the independent art organization Medvedi [Bears], which, in 2011, started the international group exhibition Bears – In Honour of Spring!, held in Belgrade every March. From 2014, she worked independently between Belgrade and Budapest, and in 2018, together with Flanek Péter, founded the Mitz po Flitz Studio, which
deals with creative and art direction, photography and stop motion animation.
Ivan Manojlović is a curator, art historian with extensive experience in the cultural heritage sector. He is interested in connecting people and culture and in his professional work so far he has focused on developing exhibition concepts, interpreting cultural heritage and contemporary
art, research at the intersection of digital and real space, museum experience and active engagement of audiences in museums. He worked as a curator at the Museum of Yugoslavia and is one of the founders of the Centre for Yugoslav Studies. He was the art director of the Artget Gallery of the Belgrade Cultural Centre in 2018. Since 2019, he has been head of the Department for International Cooperation at the Nova Iskra Creative Hub.
The artist thanks all the families and individuals who gave the permission to exhibit photographs from their private archives.